The years of hurt may be continuing, but England's football future has never looked brighter; celebrate better times ahead by digging deeper into the country's footballing roots. From a visit and pint at the birthplace of modern football to stadium tours and unique experiences, here's our roundup of great ways to celebrate the national game.
With restrictions easing across England, please continue to follow government guidance and remember to plan ahead and check attraction websites before travelling. Take a look at our top tips on how to escape the everyday responsibly to see how you can make the most out of your day trips and breaks.
Visit the pub where the national sport began
Covent Garden, London
Football may be a global phenomenon nowadays, but the sport's roots can be traced back to this Victorian tavern just off of Covent Garden. The Freemasons Arms has been serving pints and great food since the 1800s and is noted as the place where the English Football Association sat down and laid out the rules of the sport that would grow to become a worldwide favourite. Pay tribute to this in the Freemasons Arms' downstairs bar, packed with football memorabilia and live match screenings.
Found in the heart of Manchester, the National Football Museum celebrates the history of the national sport, while also adding exhibitions and displays based on present day successes and glories. With collections focused on everything from the history of the Football League to England's 1966 World Cup success, all packed with worn match kits, trophies and interactive displays donated to the museum over time, there's plenty to see and do on a day trip to the museum.
A new permanent fixture to the museum is the English Football Hall of Fame (opened 27 May 2021). For almost two decades the National Football Museum's English Football Hall of Fame has celebrated the great and the good of the game. Now, the museum will host a permanent exhibition celebrating the game's greatest names, clubs and moments.
When Tottenham opened the doors to their brand new White Hart Lane located stadium, it came with a major surprise for both Spurs and adventure fans. Built into the stadium is The Dare Skywalk, a one-of-a-kind attraction that sees you climb up onto the stadium's roof above the pitch, around the golden cockerel statue at the apex (offering unbelievable views across the capital), and back down to solid ground for refreshments in a whirlwind 90 minutes.
If you're feeling extra brave, you can now finish your skywalk in a less traditional fashion. The Edge is a controlled jump from the stadium's roof – the first experience of this kind in the UK – and sees the bravest skywalkers leap from the catwalk onto the stand below (with a harness, of course).
Aston Villa has played its home games at Villa Park since 1897, a site which was once a Victorian amusement park developed in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a grand Jacobean stately home with gardens dating back to the mid-17th century. Learn more about this historic stadium, explore the Villains dressing room and walk through the tunnel to the pitch on a stadium tour.
One of the most iconic stadiums in the world, Old Trafford, has been the home of Manchester United since 1910; get a unique perspective at the UK's biggest club ground on a stadium tour. You'll get to walk down the tunnel to the famous pitch and take a seat in the home dugouts, while outside the grounds, you can grab a snap with the United Trinity statue, featuring United legends Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law.
Make a night of it and book a stay at Hotel Football Old Trafford, which has unmatched views over Old Trafford. The hotel is the brainchild of several members of the Class of 92, a world-renowned group of United youth players including Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Philip Neville.
Get your picture taken with the Premier League trophy
Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Pay a visit to the Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City. First opened in 2003, the Etihad has already played host to some of the Premier League's most iconic moments. Relive those memories for yourself on a full tour of the stadium. See how club superstars like Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling prepare on game days; take part in a press conference with a virtual Pep Guardiola, and have your picture taken with the Premier League Trophy.
Take a tour of Everton's club grounds and discover more about the blue half of Liverpool. The club also offers the Legends Experience; visit some of the newly refurbished hospitality lounges; find out what goes on behind-the-scenes during a match day, and see the directors box before heading into the home and away changing rooms. You'll also have the chance to emerge from the tunnel to the sound of Z Cars and take a seat in the manager's chair in the home dugout.
Get the ultimate Anfield experience with a stadium tour and museum combo ticket. On this unique experience, you'll be able to see the pitch and the Kop end from multiple angles, as well as walk beneath the iconic ‘This Is Anfield’ sign in the tunnel and imagine yourself as manager of the Reds by taking Jurgen Klopp's seat. Afterwards, learn more about the history of the club and its legendary players in The Liverpool FC Story, an interactive on-site museum, now featuring a new exhibition called The Boom Room – a celebration of Liverpool's historic 18/19 season and the players and staff who made it possible.
See London's biggest collection of football silverware
Stamford Bridge, London
Pay a visit to the current European Champions at Stamford Bridge in South West London, home of Chelsea. See match-worn items and celebrate the club's history in the Chelsea FC Museum, before following in your favourite players' footsteps onto the pitch. Led by expert tour guides who have an incredible amount of trivia and knowledge of the club’s 116-year history, this is sure to be a memorable experience for Chelsea fans of all ages.
The iconic Wembley Stadium is a must for any football fan, especially with its hosting role in the closing stages of Euro 2020. Built on the grounds of 'Old Wembley', this 90,000 seater stadium is the largest in the UK and is a worldwide icon in the worlds of sport and music. Take a tour of the grounds and peek behind the scenes, exploring areas usually reserved for football superstars.
Enjoy a personal VIP Legend experience in North London
Emirates Stadium, London
Dive into the rich history of an iconic North London club at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal. Feel like a superstar as you tour the Directors Box and the Home and Away Dressing Rooms before walking through the Players Tunnel out onto the majestic Emirates pitch. Make your tour extra special with the VIP Legend Experience; journey through the stadium with pitchside commentator Nigel Mitchell and an Arsenal legend, offering dressing room tales and backroom anecdotes. You'll get the chance to ask questions and spend one on one time with your hero whilst dining on Michelin star quality food in the stadium's elite Diamond Club.
Home of Wolverhampton Wanderers since 1889, the interactive museum at Molineux takes visitors on a journey through the early years of modern football and the club’s continued success and growth into the modern era. In addition, regular stadium tours offer a unique perspective on the first stadium built primarily for a football league club in England.